Monstrous Lair: Sphinx’s Cave (system neutral)
This installment of the Monstrous Lairs-pdfs clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Sometimes, you just need a bit of dressing for a wayside encounter – or something specific to a monster type. Finding appropriate entries can be rough, and so, this series attempts to remedy this shortcoming on 2 pages, with a total of 7 d10-tables.
Approaching the lair of a sphinx might be flanked by headless statues, or warnings scribbled in blood that proclaim that the sphinx may no be truthful. Fallen pillars or haphazardly piled sandstone blocks serve as ruinous reminders of the strength of these creatures. As for what’s going on when the PCs arrive, we have sphinxes reading, the obligatory “sleeping soundly” entry (curled up is a nice touch!) or the sphinx may be grooming itself…or draw strange patterns in the sand. Major features include female statues, faceless, lying in the sand, huge golden glyphs and stands of rusty hook blades. Specific and a solid selection here! The minor lair features may include a riddle-hint, scrawled in blood, a broken spear wedged in a cracked wall, remnants of poetry being written.
As for sphinx appearances, we can find golden band forming spiraling plaits in luxuriant hair, sphinxes lounging on vast silk cushions or thousands of iridescent blue sequins covering her naked body. Awesome table! Treasures include massive, high-quality brushes, wooden carvings depicting the stars, glazed jars containing animal heads and the like. 10 sample trinkets may feature hundreds of angel clam shells broken open, ripped and shredded lions and similar nods towards the predatory nature of sphinxes. As a cool bonus, we get 4 sample sphinx-riddles!
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and we get a nice piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity (kudos!) and is included in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one for the printer.
Steve Hood provides a fun and creative little dressing file here, managing to evoke a sense of ruin and antiquity, the predatory aspects of the feline component of the sphinx, and the highly sophisticated. Considering the limited room available, this is an impressive achievement. 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this great little dressing-file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!